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Man Up Manford

September 19, 2010

This story was a curious intersection between the world of the tweeting celebrity and that of the political Twittersphere. It all started with a rant from comedian Jason Manford (@Jason_Manford), which was left on the cutting room floor:

Prime time TV presenter Jason Manford has launched an attack on channel bosses after comments he made criticising the Government were cut from coverage of a charity concert.
Comedian Manford, who replaced Adrian Chiles as presenter of The One Show, was furious that his rant at Sunday’s huge Help For Heroes gig was left out when a version was screened.
The 29-year-old had raged that injured servicemen and women were left to be cared for by a charity rather than the Government.

Manford reacted to the fact his rant was cut in this tweet:

Just watched my bit at the @HelpforHeroes gig. Can’t believe some shithouse edited out the bit about the Government. Free Speech my arse!Tue Sep 14 11:14:53 via Echofon

Lib Dem (former Green) activist Mathew Hulbert (@mathewhulbert), a longstanding participant in the political twittersphere with a penchant for tweeting BBC Question Time every week to query anti-Lib Dem bias on the panel, responded with the following tweet saying Manford should make like Switzerland and stay neutral:

@Jason_Manford What did you say about the Government Jason? I hope you remained impartial, as your new role rather requires.Tue Sep 14 11:16:00 via web

The exchange continued in surreal fashion:

@mathewhulbert nope, if I have an opinion then I’ll share it. Not on the One Show but in my proper job as a comedianTue Sep 14 11:16:47 via Echofon

@Jason_Manford Wel, yeah but you can’t divorce you on TV for half an hour each night and you as a comedian…that’s a nonsense.Tue Sep 14 11:17:54 via web

@mathewhulbert I can and I will.Tue Sep 14 11:28:56 via Echofon

@Jason_Manford Would we accept Huw Edwards or Adrian Chiles speaking out against the Govt? No, we wouldn’t.Tue Sep 14 11:22:22 via web

@mathewhulbert I’m a presenter in a magazine show, not a news show or a journalistic show, I’m a comedian at an event with an opinionTue Sep 14 11:31:57 via Echofon

@simonpjbest But we can’t make our brains divorce what BBC presenters such as @Jason_Manford say on TV and elsewhere…Tue Sep 14 11:24:45 via web

@mathewhulbert @simonpjbest well maybe you need to grow up a bit if your “brain” can’t work out the differenceTue Sep 14 11:33:41 via Echofon

@mathewhulbert don’t be faseicious, Gulf, Iraq, Falklands, Kosovo have all happened over different Govts, I’m talking Govt in generalTue Sep 14 11:39:30 via Echofon

@Jason_Manford What happens now if there’s a report on that subject on The One Show? We just forget what you think do wer?Tue Sep 14 11:30:51 via web

@mathewhulbert no, you realise that in an adult & have opinions. Often on the One Show we offer our own opinions, it thinking of the newsTue Sep 14 11:48:28 via Echofon

@Jason_Manford Ah right, so you’re on about wars twenty years ago? Come on, admit it, you’re on about the last Govt and/or this one, no?Tue Sep 14 11:41:22 via web

@mathewhulbert no, I’m talking about 1 in 4 homeless people are ex military. That’s over the last 40+ years.Tue Sep 14 11:57:58 via Echofon

@mikeblakeney Ah but that is self-evidently a comedy panel show form of satire…not a magazine BBC show. (@Jason_Manford)Tue Sep 14 11:43:21 via web

@mathewhulbert @mikeblakeney yes but I didn’t say it on the One Show I said it at a live comedy gig while doing stand up. Case closed.Tue Sep 14 11:59:12 via Echofon

Quite why the political neutrality of the host of a *cough* popular evening magazine show was so important to Hulbert one can only imagine; just wait until he hears about the view Alex Thomas holds on the renewal of Trident! Thankfully though, it looks like it all worked out alright in the end.

Sort Out Your Frau, Mr Bercow

September 19, 2010

Twinterland was alerted by this tweet by David Wearing (@davidwearing) to a Daily Mail story on Sally ‘I have my own opinions and am not merely an extension of my husband’ Bercow (@SallyBercow)

Is this the progressive “New Politics” liberal commentators are creaming themselves over? http://bit.ly/cAJUq7 @sallybercow via @their_vodkaSat Sep 18 15:52:09 via web

One recalls quite distinctly feeling some degree of sympathy for Mrs Bercow during the unseemly moralising over her admissions of a misspent youth. Indeed, anyone who can create such a persistent low whine from the MP for Mid-Bedfordshire would normally be considered as a friend of this blog. Personally, I could care less if Mrs Bercow wants to spam her anti-Tory diatribes all over Twitter: I will judge the Speaker on what he does, not what his wife tweets.

And yet, it is not Sally Bercow’s opinions or desire to have them heard that makes sympathy wane, but a feeling that she is a loud-mouthed, petty braggart who has overplayed her hand. It is not the fact that she has her own opinions, but how boorish they are. From a few anti-Tory hashtags to appearances on This Week and finger-wagging op ed pieces. This sudden media presence is, so far as I can tell, a function of the novelty value of having a Speaker’s wife who tweets, and tribally at that. One can well imagine producers and sub-editors:

“Oooh…she gets social media…and she’s Labour and he’s a Tory! She has opinions too, cos she keeps reminding us, so we must book her and ask her questions about how difficult it must be to be the Speaker’s wife and have opinions and tweet them!!”

Mrs Bercow treats such attack articles as a badge of honour, especially when they come with quotes from a mouth-frothing Dorries, but should take note that just because someone is out to silence you, this does not necessarily mean you have something interesting, important or even controversial to say. Sometimes it is just because you are annoying.

Think Before You Tweet

September 5, 2010

More examples of Twidiocy in the press this last week, providing further evidence, should it be needed, of what we like to refer to as the ‘Big Brother’ effect of Twitter. No, not that trapped within the confines of your Twitter feed increases the tendency to crass narcissism, although it undoubtedly does. No, more that, like the Big Brother house, people eventually forget that people are actually following their actions (tweets), and they lose all shame about taking a (metaphorical) dump in front of the masses. Furthermore, they also forget, that not everyone who is following them necessarily has their best interests at heart.

Exhibit A is celebrity talent vacuum Paris Hilton. Recently pulled over by police in Las Vegas, a search of her car revealed a handbag with some nose candy in it. Sharp as a baseball bat, Paris immediately insisted she has borrowed the purse containing the illegal narcotics. Sadly for poor Paris, she had, in mid July, uploaded a picture to the Twitter image site Twitpic, a very similar looking purse to the one she claimed to have loaned for the night. Oops.

Closer to home we have this:

A senior council officer has sparked fury after claiming that it is acceptable for employers to slap their servants. Rehana Mohamed made the comments on her Twitter account after watching a TV debate on the abuse of foreign domestic workers exploited by wealthy families.

This being the Mail of course, it helps that the perpetrator herself is foreign (from Sri Lanka) and is a public sector worker with a job (Strategic Change Management Consultant) that sounds like it should be cut before she even opened her trap so embarrassingly on Twitter. Even more Daily Mail bonus points are wracked up by the fact she works for the Labour Brent Council: it is like a Daily Mail full house. Not quite on a par with throwing a cat in a bin, but goes to show that even tweets made in jest can come back to haunt you in your professional career.

So much love to give – Update 2

August 30, 2010

Twinterland is committed in keeping you up to date with John Prescott’s valiant battle against the forces of evil and injustice in the form of his Save NHS Direct campaign. Today the bandwagon trundled further on its journey to the minefield of irrelevance, snapping up the following backing from its 4th Labour leadership candidate:

Good for JP for leaping to defence of nhs direct. Sign his petition at http://www.savenhsdirect.co.uk.Mon Aug 30 12:24:38 via txt

Prescott is now only missing Diane Abbott (@DianeforLeader) for a full house. Given the lacklustre nature of her campaign so far, perhaps we should not be surprised she is last out of the blocks to score into the open goal.

Elsewhere the petition continued to rack up signatures and at the time of writing stands at 11105, against Prescott’s target of 100,000. However, all is not perfectly harmonious in the Labour camp on this issue. In response to two critical tweets this morning, Prescott called out Labour MP Tom Harris, in relation to this blog the latter wrote on the matter.

@dave_chiv Under Labour, NHS 111 was to be main number you call. Would then route you to service you required – for eg, NHS Direct…Sun Aug 29 19:25:32 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

@dave_chiv …with 60 hrs medical training. Hope that’s simple enough for you and @TomHarrisMP 😉Sun Aug 29 19:35:55 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

@carlminns You’ll have to do a lot better then quote Telegraph articles and @tomharrismp to support your case 😉Mon Aug 30 10:23:30 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

@johnprescott I’m happy to admit a mistake if you can show me a (pre-election) link saying we were not going to replace NHS Direct.Mon Aug 30 10:42:09 via TweetDeck

@TomHarrisMP But you’re happy to blog on basis of Telegraph article? Can see why Tory bloggers like you. On NHS111 speak to @andyburnhammpMon Aug 30 11:11:09 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

@TomHarrisMP @andyburnhammp was our Health Secretary, just in case you didn’t know. Glad to see you spent weekend watching SCI-FI videos 😉Mon Aug 30 11:15:23 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

In a nutshell, get back to tossing it off in front of Dr Who whilst us real men save the world from the evil forces ranged against us, or at least set up an e-petition and tweet repetitiously about it. Harris though did not take the bait, retreated to the moral high ground, and refused to get dragged into childish name calling.

@johnprescott I’m sorry you want to make personal comments about me, John. I’ll stick to the politics (fortunately for you).Mon Aug 30 11:35:23 via TweetDeck

Well, I say moral high ground; perhaps that should have been a ignominious retreat.

RT @SimonMagus: Has @johnprescott thumped @TomHarrisMP yet? << No, I was hiding behind the sofa when he came to the door….Mon Aug 30 13:28:53 via TweetDeck

These types of campaigns are becoming beholden to a battle of anecdotes, which are constantly retweeted by protagonists on both sides. So on one hand, you have a story of how NHS Direct talked someone through an emergency tracheotomy on their gran, when she choked unexpectedly on a Werthers Original upon hearing the scale of Osborne’s cuts. Then you have people saying that NHS Direct failed to diagnose a stab wound after being phoned and told, ‘I have been stabbed’, replying that ‘It doesn’t sound serious, but if doesn’t improve, take two paracetamol and call us back in the morning.’ Let us close then with a call for rational minds in an ocean of emotion and sentimentality.

Annoyed at this NHS Direct “debate”. Would like to see evidence from both sides, not just endless anecdotes.Mon Aug 30 08:12:20 via HootSuite

With Friends Like These…

August 30, 2010

The battle between David & Ed Moribund for the leadership of the Labour Party has seen both candidates campaigns marred by unwanted interventions by supposed supporters.

First we had GMB union Paul Kenny giving the right-wing press ammunition to shoot their preferred candidate (Ed Miliband) with allegations of being in hoc to union bully boys:

Asked by The Times if his union would withdraw funding from Labour if Ed Miliband did not win, Mr Kenny said: ‘If the new leader offers us more of the same, many unions — including our own — would have to consider where we are at.
‘Ed Balls and David Miliband represent where we’ve been. They are not without talent. I would not rubbish them. But if the direction of the party went off chasing some right-of-centre ground . . .’
He added: ‘Ed Miliband is not ashamed of Labour’s core values. It’s not about a big society. It’s about a fair society.’

Mr Kenny may as well have taken a shit through the letterbox of MiliE’s campaign headquarters. Here’s Soho Politco’s (@SohoPolitico) take along those lines:

If the GMB were aiming to associate Ed Miliband with the idea of truculent, militant unionism, they’ve done a bang-up job. Sheesh.Sat Aug 28 13:25:55 via web

And similarly, Sunder Katwala (@nextleft) of the Fabian Society:

Paul Kenny of GMB leadership/funding intervention seems to me rather counter-productive if intended to boost Ed MilibandSat Aug 28 12:55:35 via web

This came after Mirror journalist Kevin Maguire (@Kevin_Maguire) tweeted on Friday that the Ed Miliband campaign had been “bunged” £100k in funding from Unite. Here’s the ever reliable Ben Cooper (@BenCooper86) with the retweet and a none too subtle dig at the Ed Miliband’s campaigns penchant for the hashtag #poweredbythepeople.

#PoweredByOneDonation RT @Kevin_Maguire Unite bunged Ed Miliband’s Labour campaign £100k. < wonder how this will go down with the public?Fri Aug 27 12:27:06 via web

Fortunately for Ed Miliband, his brother has some equally clumsy friends, who’s interventions are more likely to cost him votes than bolster his support. If anything is likely to cement a coalition of the left of the party and centrists sick of New Labour factionalism behind Ed Miliband it is this:

Peter Mandelson today claimed Ed Miliband would take Labour into an ‘electoral cul-de-sac’ if he were to become party leader.
The former Business Secretary expressed firm support for David Miliband and his belief that he can recreate the ‘coalition’ that took Labour to power in 1997.
His intervention is a blow for David’s younger brother Ed, who is also set to face a critique from Tony Blair in the former prime minister’s memoirs.

Not just one New Labour pariah then, but the added bonus of Blair too. Outside of those voters already planning to give David Miliband a first preference vote, I can’t think of a more toxic combination to solidify not only Ed Miliband’s support, but also the second preference transfers from the other candidates too.

Others agree:

The Blairites realise that each high profile endorsement of D. Mil. makes it more likely Ed. Mil. Will win, right? #LabourLeaderMon Aug 30 11:12:20 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

So the New Labour old school has come out fighting today then? Scare tactics more likely to push ppl to vote @Ed_Miliband I’d have thought.Mon Aug 30 11:19:18 via TweetDeck

The intervention of The Prince of Darkness caused Tom Watson MP (@tom_watson) (supporter of that other Ed) to tweet thus:

Hello @DMiliband. When you visit my constituency today, I expect you will want to condemn Mandelson’s cheap attack on Ed Miliband.Mon Aug 30 10:32:29 via Echofon

And then to the following altercation:

Low blow. Why is it up to him to do so? RT @tom_watson: Hello @DMiliband, I expect you will want to condemn Mandelson’s cheap attack on EMilMon Aug 30 12:27:00 via Twitter for iPhone

@SohoPolitico because I’m certain he’d want to distance himself from peter’s well-timed attack and keep this campaign about ideas.Mon Aug 30 12:33:24 via Echofon

@tom_watson Do you go around insisting that your own candidate, Ed Balls, distances himself from comments made by ppl outside his campaign?Mon Aug 30 12:55:36 via web

@tom_watson We both know the implication here is that, if DM doesn’t go out of his way to respond to Mandelson, he must welcome his commentsMon Aug 30 12:57:29 via web

@SohoPolitico oh so peter mandelson is outside the campaign? Pull the other one.Mon Aug 30 12:58:25 via Echofon

@tom_watson So your claim is that he speaks for David Miliband? What is Mandelson’s title in the DM campaign?Mon Aug 30 13:02:18 via web

@SohoPolitico You write anonymously so I can’t judge whether you’re gullible or taking me for a patsy. He’s at it.Mon Aug 30 13:04:11 via Echofon

@tom_watson It’s hard to know what to make of that comment. DM already condemned Mandelson’s memoirs. How much more distancing do you want?Mon Aug 30 13:11:50 via web

@tom_watson The point here is that it’s pretty cheap expecting a fresh condemnation from DM every time PM opens his mouth.Mon Aug 30 13:12:43 via web

@tom_watson The only reason to insist that he does is if you have an interest in ensuring that DM can’t move on from the old tribal labelsMon Aug 30 13:14:47 via web

And this is all without even touching on the completion of the unholy trinity of MiliD supporters.

Laboured Disagreements

August 29, 2010

After the partisan exchanges of the election campaign the Labour leadership campaign has been a rather damp squib. Following the factional infighting of the last government, I have been left disappointed by the lack of similar bitching between the camps of the various candidates in the leadership election. Only in the last couple of weeks have we started to see the kind of snarky comments we know the ardent Labour tribalist to be capable of.

Two supporters exchanged a quick salvo over this spelling mistake by David Miliband:

Audioboo: Delighted to have the support of John Cruddas http://boo.fm/b172143Thu Aug 26 17:37:40 via AudioBoo

In the red corner then we had the Tom Scholes-Fogg (@tscholesfogg), supporting Ed Miliband in spite of the disadvantage a double-barelled surname must entail on the left of the Labour party. He linked to this cheeky blog on Political Scrapbook (@psbook), pointing out this was not the first time the elder Miliband had erred in the spelling of a fellow Labour MP’s name. Quite why David Miliband should concern himself with the correct spelling of the names of such lesser mortals is quite beyond us here at Twinterland, but such blair-faced cheek rather upset some of his supporters.

In the blue corner we have Ben Cooper (@BenCooper86), a supporter of David Miliband. The exchange went as follows:

David Miliband cannot spoll http://bit.ly/bE928CFri Aug 27 15:19:36 via web

By way of partial defence, it should be noted the ‘joke’ came not from the brain of Scholes-Fogg himself, but the original story on the blog instead.

@tscholesfogg I’m assuming ‘spoll’ was deliberate & its a pretty desperate attack regardless!Fri Aug 27 15:27:13 via web

@BenCooper86 It was indeed a deliberate spelling errorFri Aug 27 15:27:53 via web

@tscholesfogg jooly good, I’m assuming you defend Gordon Brown against its vile attack from the sun…Fri Aug 27 15:30:51 via web

@BenCooper86 I did defend GB when the sun mocked his mistakes, GB was blind in one eye and they shouldn’t have mocked him. But DM should..Fri Aug 27 15:33:25 via web

The above exchange relates of course to the last time there was ever any recorded sympathy for Gordon Brown. We are entering a world of murky misspelling morality here now. Seemingly, getting the name of a dead soldier on a letter of condolence to his mother is fine if you have one eye. However, spelling the name of two colleagues wrong in relatively inconsequential messages on a social media site deserves mockery, especially if you happen to be David Miliband.

@BenCooper86 ..At least know how to spell Diane and JonFri Aug 27 15:33:59 via web

@tscholesfogg I’ve seen plenty of people spell them wrong, including me – its pathetic & not worthy of you!Fri Aug 27 15:43:12 via web

@tscholesfogg oh dear, desperate stuff!Fri Aug 27 16:47:34 via Twitter for Android

I would imagine should David become leader Jon and Diane will become John and Dianne whether they like it or not. Quite clearly these are better ways of spelling those names and David knows what is best for the individuals and what is best for the party. His brother Ed, in a hastily rushed out statement, asked all candidates in the race to try and ensure they conducted their spelling in a collegiate manner, whilst at the same time giving some not so subtle cues to party members that his own policy on the matter would be to the left of his brother: Jo and Di presumably?

So much love to give – Update 1

August 29, 2010

Twinterland tracking of John ‘Hashtag’ Prescott’s latest social media campaign continues. Here he is with an update on the petition:

Thanks to the 7655 people who’ve signed to #saveNHSdirect – 270+ people signing an hour now http://www.savenhsdirect.co.uk/Sun Aug 29 17:07:02 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

The campaign has the support of some of the Labour Leader candidates:

Thousands of ppl already signed–please sign @JohnPrescott‘s #SaveNHSDirect petition http://bit.ly/czGr62Sun Aug 29 11:38:41 via web

Please do 1 thing 2 help NHS today & sign JP’s petition #savenhsdirect. It’ll tell NHSD staff we value them & ConDems what we think of them!Sun Aug 29 10:01:08 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

My blog on Tory plan to axe NHS Direct and Qs Mr Lansley must answer – sign @JohnPrescott‘s #SaveNHSDirect petition http://bit.ly/bKpEZdSun Aug 29 11:51:47 via ÜberTwitter

The Save NHS Direct campaign is directly mentioned in The Sun, The Independent, Press Association and here is Prescott getting some airtime on the BBC. Most of the other dead tree press have carried the story about NHS Direct, but not mentioned the campaign so far as I can see.